|Patrick Hourcade, Barbara, créé le 10 août 2010|
For those of my faithful readers who have never ventured into the wiles of the Gare d’Austerlitz neighborhood in the 13th, you need to plan a trip to hospital. In the gardens of the Hôpital Universitaire la Pitié Salpêtrière is the 1677 L’église Saint-Louis, the hospital Chapel. You won’t find any tourists here. True to its function as a place of worship for the sick, their families, and the staff in attendance, in the 17th century, the classical structure — a rotunda under a domed cupola with four radiating naves and a chapel tucked in between each nave — the space is heavenly.
The austerity and clarity of a space without chairs, without altar, with bare walls, and a circularity lent it by the octagonal structure, together with a luminosity thanks to picture windows around a 360 degree exposure makes for an experience of fullness and unity when at the centre, under the cupola. The space is apparently used for concerts today because its acoustics are perfect, and as Georgia and I entered to see Patrick Hourcade’s La Puissance D’Aimer, the deep sonority of the grand organ filled the church. It was as though we had entered a hermetically sealed world from which we might never emerge.
|Patrick Hourcade, L'Idole, crée le 11 november 2009|
|Patrick Hourcade, Le Lit créé le 24 mars 2008|
|Patrick Hourcade, L'Autre créé le 6 août 2010|
|Jan van Eyck, The Arnolfini Marriage, 1434|
In turn, the status of the photograph varies from one image to the next. Not only are they pushed to the limits of their boundaries with other media, other centuries, these oversized photographic images don’t always evaporate, or dissolve into the ether of the spiritual oasis of the church. In some cases, Hourcade pushes photography to a kind of hyperreality, where they come to look like paintings of photographs. A photograph such as Renée, créé le 7 mai 2009 is all at once an Andreas Gursky abstraction, an Edward Hopper landscape, and a Gerhard Richter painted photograph. Thus, these mysterious images also seem to travel the distance of the history of photography.
|Patrick Hourcade, Renée, créé le 7 mai 2009|
All Images Courtesy of the Artist